Monday Mornings with Madison

Updating Your Corporate Brand with 2018 Design Style

Word Count:  1,436

Estimated Read Time: 5 1/2  min.

The relentless pace of change is accelerating.  Just keeping up with technology, systems, processes, laws, regulations and trends can be positively draining for corporations.  Every time we blink, some other aspect of business has evolved and requires updating.  With the arrival of 2018, companies big and small are reviewing, revisiting and restructuring their legal and operational organizations to maximize the financial and tax benefits.  There is so much that will need to be overhauled in just those areas alone.  It is easy to overlook sales and marketing when everything else needs attention, but that would be a mistake. Continue reading

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Employee Loyalty and Employee Turnover in 2018

Word Count:  1,989

Estimated Read Time: 8 min.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is holding at 4.1%, the lowest it’s been since December 2000.[1] In fact, for the first time on record, there has been job growth for 86 consecutive months.  This is considered by most economists to be close to or at “full employment.”   The stock market has also been setting records seemingly every month.  Greg Ip, a writer for Dow Jones Newswires, reported last July on Fox Business that “the economic expansion is now entering its ninth year and in two years will be the longest on record.”[2] That is now a year and a half away and economic expansion continues.  By all accounts, this is the hottest economy the U.S. has had in a very long time. Continue reading

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Look for Problems in 2018 – Pt 2

Word Count:  1,257 

Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Using Problems to Innovate and Invent

We look up to people who face challenges.  We admire those who go through darkness and still come out smiling.  We respect those who are faced with adversity but are still capable of compassion.  We revere those who rise above their problems and even thrive. Those problems are what made them stronger and wiser.  Problems are not only what inspire us, but also what makes us inspiring.  To identify a problem and tackle it, with a head held high, speaks to grit and growth.  A life without problems is empty.  There would be no growth. Continue reading

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Look for Problems in 2018 – Pt 1

Word Count:  1,671 

Estimated Read Time: 6 ½ min.

Viewing Problems as Gifts

From the earliest age, we are taught to avoid trouble.   Our parents teach us to sidestep difficulties and dodge danger.  As we grow up, we learn in school to circumvent trials and elude strife.  The savviest entrepreneurs are experts at evading challenges and finding the easiest and fastest ways to get things done.  Let’s face it, we all try to avoid problems like the plague.  And when faced with a problem, most people will wring their hands and lament in frustration.  Problems are just hindrances that obstruct our path and keep us from getting where we’re going.  Or are they? Continue reading

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Giving and Forgiving at Work

Word Count:  1,342 

Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ min.

The concept of giving gets a lot of attention this time of year.  Lip service is paid to generosity, whether it be giving of one’s time or money.  People are encouraged to volunteer at organizations that help the less fortunate.  Businesses are asked to give to charities that help the sick and needy.  And charitable giving increases this time of year.  We even applaud giving thanks… cheering an attitude of gratitude for what we have and what others do for us.  Those are all laudable acts of generosity of spirit.  Giving, in all its forms, is worthy of praise.  But what about forgiving?  Is that also a form of giving? Continue reading

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Humility: The Trait that Costs Nothing but Delivers a Huge ROI

Word Count:  1,477 

Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

In today’s PR-driven, social-media crazed, self-promoting world, humility is a quality that has lost its appeal.  While everyone is busy yelling “Look at me!  Listen to me!” with their selfies, posts, videos and TED talks, the humble are not boastful.  They adopt a modest posture that refuses to draw attention for themselves.  Humility is self-effacing, and unpretentious.  The humble person will not think or act as if he is better than anyone else, and won’t try to impress others by appearing or seeming to have greater importance, talent or culture than he actually has.  The humble person might come across as shy, even if he is actually outgoing and confident.  According to Meriam-Webster dictionary, humility is “a freedom from pride or arrogance.”[1] Vocabulary.com says it is the “modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.”[2] In fact, humility comes from the root word humilis, which means low in Latin. Continue reading

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Fail Big in 2018

Word Count:  1,315

Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

As this fiscal year rolls to a close, business people will invariably begin tallying their professional wins and losses of 2017.  Corporate execs at every level will crunch numbers and calculate bottom lines.  Managers will look at what they did well and what they did poorly.   In taking stock, they will invariably start preparing for the year ahead.  Goals will be set.  Business, marketing and sales plans will be drafted.  Resolutions will be made.  That’s all fine. Continue reading

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The Battle between Speed and Quality

Word Count:  1,847 

Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

In the business world, there is a constant tug-of-war between doing something ‘right’ and doing it fast.  The pressure of profitability is forever pushing companies to get things done fast, and then faster still.  Managers submit requests and the due date is “yesterday.”  The more quickly a job is performed or a task is completed, the more it is praised by management and investors.  Employees are urged to pick up the pace.  An entire engineering discipline – ergonomics – was developed to focus on improving efficiency by saving time through small adjustments in motion.  Sayings abound about not wasting time.  Time waits for no man.  Wasted time is a wasted life.  Don’t waste time or time will waste you. Continue reading

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The New LinkedIn: A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Word Count:  1,917 

Estimated Read Time: 8 min.

When LinkedIn launched, it was a social media site that encouraged people in the work world to connect with other known professionals for networking and career development.   People were categorized as either (1st) which were direct connections, (2nd) which is someone who knows someone you know or (3rd) someone who knows someone that knows someone you know.   They tracked up to three degrees of separation between people.  In the early days of LI, someone with over 500 connections was considered to be a mover-and-shaker.  The site discouraged linking to people outside those known at work, school or social circles.  In turn, people were hesitant to link with people they didn’t know for fear that the site would be abused by salespeople and scammers. Continue reading

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The Smallest Gestures Can Have the Biggest Impact

Word Count:  1,477

Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Companies today compete furiously for market share.  We see brick-and-mortar retailers fighting for every sale and struggling to survive.  The Street announced that “Ailing department store operator Sears Holdings Inc. will shut down 63 more Sears and Kmart stores, the latest step as it hobbles to a likely bankruptcy.”[1] Restaurants are slogging it out with special offers, gimmicks and unique approaches that will attain and retain patrons.  The New York Times recently reported that “There are now more than 620,000 eating and drinking places in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the number of restaurants is growing at about twice the rate of the population.”[2] Competition is tough, and marketing research shows that businesses in most industries are spending increasingly larger budgets to reach potential customers and woo existing customers.  Clutch, a Washington, D.C.-based ratings and review firm, conducted a 2017 Small Business Digital Marketing Survey of 350 small business owners and managers (500 employees or less) in which 49% of entrepreneurs said they plan to spend more on digital marketing to boost sales and brand recognition this year over last year and 36% said they aim to boost their marketing budget by 11% to 30%.[3] They are doing it all.  PPC campaigns.  Social media ads.  Retargeting efforts.  Network commercials.  Seminars.  Webinars.  Video infomercials.  Presentations.  Mobile automated notifications.  Text ads.  The efforts are increasingly sophisticated and expensive.  You name it.  Businesses are doing it.  Creating it…. deploying it…. and measuring the effectiveness of it.  That’s a lot of time and money spent to cut through the noise and grab the audience’s attention with the hopes of driving sales and increasing repeat business. Continue reading

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